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Mahison Rachareuthay (มหิศร ราชหฤทัย)

Thai. Royal name of the 77th son of King Mongkut, i.e. King Rama IV, whom he begot with his consort Huang (ห่วง). The prince was born in Bangkok on 30 January 1866, as Chaiyanta Mongkon (fig.) and a half-brother to Prince Chulalongkorn, the later King Rama V. He became Minister of Finance and after having joined King Rama V on his 1897 European tour, he set out to develop international trade relations and worked towards modernizing Siam’s business practices, in line with those in Europe. In 1904, he had converted the archaic photduang currency into a European-style metric system and −with banking then in the hands of the established foreign banks− he was aware of the need for a local Siamese bank and thus became instrumental in establishing the country's first prototype financial institution, called the Book Club, which was founded on 4 October 1904. On 30 January 1907, the prince's birthday, the Book Club officially became Thailand's first real bank by royal decree and was renamed Siam Commercial Bank. In 1910, it moved its office to a building in Talaat Noi (map - fig.), which became the banks first head office until 1971, when it relocated to Petchaburi Road, where it stayed until January 1996, when it moved to the SCB Park Plaza in Chatuchak District (map - fig.). Prince Mahison Rachareuthay is recognized as the Father of Thai Banking (fig.) and besides having his painted portrait in the entrance hall of the former head office in Talaat Noi, he also has his statue in the Thai Bank Museum (fig.), as well as a statue together with King Rama V in front of the head office in use since 1996 (fig.).